It was good to see Mary Meyer's sketch of the Sheppard-Pratt Gatehouse in the paper the other day (April 15). I like the Gatehouse, I look to see it whenever I go out Charles Street. I look to see if Zelda Fitzgerald is there.
She was standing there some 60 years ago. A young man struck up a conversation, made her acquaintance. They got on well. He told her he was an actor.
That was music for Zelda. She'd recently written a play called ''Scandalabra.'' The Vagabond Junior Players were to put it on at the converted carriage-house theater on Read Street off Charles.
Would he read the play, might he take part in it? Would he come to dinner at La Paix, the nearby Fitzgerald house?
And he did. So it was he met Scott. Who, in a little, wanted to box him. It was one of Scott's ways. So they boxed a bit, had dinner, and he then read the play. He read a few scenes aloud to Zelda. And later he was given a role. His name was Zack Maccubbin.
The play played or tried to play under hectic circumstances. The summer heat was stifling and the play ran on and on. Was there an end to it? The first night the play started at 8:15 and ran on and on until after 1.
So the rest of the week was cutting and cutting. And rewriting. And Scott took a hand. But long or short, rewritten or not, the play just didn't come off too well.
Friends came down from New York to see it. Scott did all he could to boost it. But Broadway never gave the play a nod.
Nancy Milford tells something of this in her book ''Zelda.''
This happened over 60 years ago. And now La Paix is gone, the houses torn down, and the little carriage-house theater is also gone. And Zelda and Scott are gone.
But the Gatehouse remains and is a double joy: as the Gatehouse itself and as a reminder of the days when the Fitzgeralds were here.
Franklin Mason is a retired Evening Sun copyreader.